Friday, November 6, 2015

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude - an expression of acceptance of the things we have, and to fuel our experience of love, selflessness and service. I awake this morning full of gratitude and wanted to share my hearts perception on how this beautiful concept has changed my life. For years I was ungrateful on every level. I had so many beautiful people and miracles happening in my life, however I could not grasp the concept of what it meant to be grateful. I ALWAYS WANTED MORE! More of everything. If I had a brand new car, I wanted a different color; when I bought my house, it was just a matter of time when I wanted a bigger house, the job - well I was never satisfied (problems with authority in my younger years gave way to a much bigger problem here). And the non-material items, the fact that I woke up every morning and was able to take another breath never phased me. The point is no matter what I had I wanted something more. It left me feeling lost, crazy and spinning out of control.  I am here to share some basic ideas of how I remain grateful.

When I awake in the morning, I at most times have immediate thoughts of impending doom - that I am struggling in every aspect of my life. Thoughts such as I can't make enough money, how will I get through the day, this meeting I have at noon is going to ruin my life, etc. You get the idea. Your thoughts may be the same or may be different. Either way they are there - they are strong, all consuming and they have been known to set the tone for my entire day. Well there is hope! Gratitude has saved my sanity and brought peace back into my life. How does this concept work? I had the same question, and believe me even after all these years I still forget at times.

For me this is taking out a piece of paper and a pen, pencil, marker, or a computer - whatever captures your artistic spirit and I start writing. I write the question bold and underlined at the top of the paper or the screen - What in my life an I grateful for? What people, places, things and most importantly what experiences! I've learned that material possessions have not given me happiness in my later years of life. It is the love of people in my life, my awareness of life and the ability to be awake and living a life of purpose that makes me grateful. I may add I am extremely grateful for the roof over my head, the food in the fridge and the ability to make money to fund those hobbies of passion. The point to all of this is to rid our thinking of "what more do we need" and to begin shifting into "the gratitude for what we have."

Take some moments today, tomorrow and everyday to follow to find gratitude for your life! By doing this I promise you will find increased happiness. I'd love to hear how your practice gratitude - please share you journey!


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Being Present - what does this mean?

"If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” - Lao Tzu

 How do we live in the present moment? Lao Tzu expresses this phenomenon quite beautifully. Reliving something from yesterday brings us a state of depression as we sit and muddle in what we should, could or would have done differently. We cannot change what happened yesterday, what we can do is accept ourselves exactly as we are, and be mindful on where we are right NOW. Worries about tomorrow bring us anxiety. Thoughts such as what if he doesn't like me, what if I don't get the promotion keep us from experiencing what is happening in this moment. Ask yourself, what Power do you have in making all the results from these circumstances happen? Can we make people like us? Can we ensure that technology is going work, can we make our boss like us? Generally not. This creates a fight or flight response created by ourselves. A zebra is calm, collected and just doing his thing in the safari, he doesn't live in constant fear that he will be chased by the lion, UNTIL the lion is presently chasing him. We unlike the zebra tend to live in this fight or flight response all throughout our day. The common result is constant stress which brings on disease and illness and imprisons our minds to insanity. There is hope! Although we cannot change people, places and things, we do have the capacity to change how we react to them. With a quick change in perception -we can change our entire view of the world. So how do we do this? We control how we respond, we change our perspective, we do the next right thing. We breathe. By bringing ourselves back to the moment, we can let our mind rest or pause thus giving us the space to take action mindfully. Taking 3 deep belly breaths can instantaneously stop the negative thoughts that get us nowhere. This takes practice - constant practice - over and over again. Whenever these thoughts come up, we immediately turn them around with a positive thought. "Change your thoughts, and you can change your world" - Norman Vincent Peale

Thursday, September 24, 2015

We have a choice

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” – James Baraz

We have a choice, a choice to be free, to be peaceful and to hand over all our worries. A recent struggle allowed me to find this balance. It was a soulful surrender to the declaration of "I don't know." I think I know what I want, I want to know what's happening each future minute, and I want to know how it will all end up. Truth is I don't know anything. The Universe puts me exactly where I am supposed to be, every minute of every day and the realization is I don't know where or what this is. This is called living in the present moment and being mindful that what ever life throws at me whether good or bad I have a choice in how to respond. This is the only (I repeat - the only) attribute I have total control over. I can't make the sun shine for my birthday party, I cannot make a person like me, I cannot bring back a deceased parent. The point is I cannot control or change anything that universally happens. 

For example I received a letter in the mail informing me of the loss of a fairly large sum of money. I cannot change that I have "just" lost it, what I can do is pause, breath, invite a Power greater than myself to guide me into doing the next right thing - this we call action. Action is the place where my anger tends to arise. It is not merely the loss of money that I become resentful at, but the fact that I must act to fix or "handle" the situation. When I let go of how it all is supposed to look like, I can then and only then bring myself to the present moment, accept what is and then take action to make the most of the situation. Back to the letter - my next right thing was to write an appeal letter and hand deliver it to the office requested. At the time of arrival and date stamp of receipt I was told that it will take 75 days to process. Still I have no control. I just do the next right thing. 

The quote as written above mentions fear, and fear is what drives all these crazy monkey thoughts we have in which we think we can change the past or that by worrying about it will make it look different. I have learned that it doesn't work this way. I choose today to be happy, joyous and free and when I find myself in worry that happiness, joy and freedom is immediately taken from me - by my own choice! 

So today I invite you to handle each situation as it arises, if it is unpleasant be mindful not to worry about the results, but only focus fully and in complete presence on how to do the next right thing. Try this for a week and see how you feel. If it doesn't work for you, you can always go back to doing it the old way. 


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Self love, presence.

Self love comes in many glorious forms, but what is it that makes it so difficult?  I lay in a purple room with the support of my breathworker and I begin breathing, naturally. I have a tendancy to want to control the breath, however this time I was invited to breathe naturally. While still brething integratively I began to notice that the outbreath left a feeling of a void over my heart, as if the breath was separating and moving around my heart. I was comforted and asked what I was a feeling. I could relate to the feeling like many times before, that I need to love myself. It was a profound feeling, stronger than before. My body was telling me to focus, to recognize, to feel. Tears began to fall from my eyes, and this energy started to flood my entire being.

The awareness of beating myself up over thoughts, actions and more specifically creating expectations have often left me feeling overwhelmed and lost. The experience offered a place for my heart to talk to me, to guide me, to give me a reason to love myself.  Self love is not necessarily a lesson or a conscious practice. Sometimes being in the moments that life offers us is the best place to be, and to see love and joy within every moment.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Would you believe me?

When faced with fear, anxiety or depression where do you go? Do you go to the beach, the mountains, your favorite watering hole; or do you go to sleep, to alcohol and drugs, to chocolate? The list is endless, and all encompassing. The funny thing is wherever you go, there you are. We take us with us. Living in a constant state of fight or flight creates a very hard knock life. It builds us up to resist relaxation, to not see the beauty in the sky or even worse it creates a physical illness that drives us deeper into hiding.

So then where do we go? We go inward. The invitation is out there. It's sparkling, shining and glimmering with the solution. Going inward hurts. It means we have to face the very things we despise. Those things called personality traits. Do you often hear yourself saying, "I'm not good enough?" or "I'm not pretty enough?" That's called self-sabatoge and its relentless. It does our body no good. What if I told you there was a solution. A way out, a way to end the suffering. Would you believe me?

The solution lies in grace, in willingness, in honesty. Create a vision to become a better you, the person you were meant to be. Ask yourself this question, What is it that makes me happy? Then take yourself on a visual journey to that place and feel the energy that it creates. If we get honest with ourselves, close our eyes and ask ourselves this simple question, many answers will begin to unfold.